Monthly Archive for February, 2008

February doesn’t have a 30

And, this year, it actually has a 29, which is pretty cool. Happy Leap Day!

I’ve been taking pictures of Claire on the 30th of every month since the day she was born (well, except for those pesky Februarys of years past). Today, she’s not 27-months old yet, but tomorrow, she already will be.

There is no 30 in February.
So, we’re taking her 27-month picture today! 🙂

Here are some pictures I took of Claire today, before she got up for the day. Daddy took the new camera to London to capture his adventure on film, so I’m using the ol’ reliable (read: slow) camera. 🙂

A note about the pics:
You can click on each one to enlarge it.
Clicking a second time will show even more detail.

27-months old! 27-months old! 27-months old! 27-months old!

As you can see, we’ve reached a new level in picture taking. Now, not only is the subject overly aware of her picture being taken, but she is requesting to take the pictures. She not only tells me she wants the camera, but she has elaborate reasons for why she wants to take the pictures. You can see the on-going dialogue in today’s photo session.

At least the “Momma, I want the camera, please!” rhymes with “cheese!”…so the smiling face at the end is almost the same result.

😉

Lost Observations – “The Constant”

Sometimes I watch the most recent episode of Lost twice before posting my observations, but not this time. I just got done watching it, and I can’t wait to watch it again. I also couldn’t wait to get my thoughts on paper (er, on the blog).

Time travel has always intrigued me and boggled my mind. The concepts are so complex that the paradoxes can get all tangled and very few movies or programs get it 100% accurate or stick to the rules they themselves have created. (And even as a casual perfectionist, those loose ends irk me!) As I was watching the latest episode of Lost, “The Constant,” I wondered how the 2004 Daniel wouldn’t remember meeting the 1996 Desmond when he met him on the island. Then it hit me: How convenient is it that a person who has been visited by a person from the future has memory loss!

I have the utmost faith in Lost to get all the ends tied up nicely. I hope. Now, if we only knew what all the rules were, we could play along, too! 😉

Needless to say, I really liked this episode of Lost. Desmond is one of my favorite characters, and the ending made me very happy and hopeful. I wonder how things will go from here? I need to refresh my memory about what prompted Penny to start looking for Desmond “for the last three years.” In addition to that, I can’t wait to peruse the re-caps or close-ups on the Internet, and there are a TON of things I want to see again. (Daniel’s map for Frank, for one. And some of his scribbles in his journal and the chalk-board may or may not offer some clues.) Check out my blogroll for some good links.

I still have some questions, such as: The side-effects Desmond suffered in this episode are different from his flashes of the past and future, right? Are they related? Will these side-effects stop now that Desmond has made contact with his constant? What about Daniel? Will his stop as well, now that he’s made contact with Desmond? And, just what was he doing that caused him to suffer side-effects? How did he find out about the island in the first place? Who else has suffered from these side-effects (besides poor George Minkowski)? Oh…and how exciting it was to see The Black Rock! What’s in the journal, and did the auctioneer say it belonged to a Mr. Hanso!? I wonder if Mr. Widmore gave Desmond Penny’s address because he knew that it would be related to the island (and finding The Black Rock) in some way?

Some answers! So many more questions! At least we’ve been given a lot more to think about… I can’t wait until next week. 😉

Pop Quiz: When is Mother’s Day?

Pop Quiz:  When is Mother’s Day?
Answer:  That depends on where you are!  See the conversation below… 
🙂

“I just realized that not only am I missing your birthday on this trip,” my hubby said in a panicked voice, yesterday on the phone.  “I’m also missing Mother’s Day!”

“What?  Mother’s Day is in May!” I told him.  Where is he getting this, all of a sudden?

“No!  Mother’s Day is Sunday!!  And I can’t believe I’m missing it…I already feel guilty enough as it is, especially since I’m gone for two weeks this time…and I’m missing your birthday!” he said.

“Um, Mother’s Day is in May.  It’s always near your mother’s birthday…” I reassured him, knowing full well that he doesn’t remember when his mother’s birthday is, so the point of reference would be lost on him.

“What??  Well, at dinner tonight, everyone was giving me a really hard time….especially when they found out that I’m in London over your birthday,” he said, audibly upset.  “And, there are ads for Mother’s Day being Sunday everywhere I look over here.”

“No, for real.  Mother’s Day is in May…”  I said, flipping through the calendar on my wall.  “It’s May 11th this year.  It’s always in May.  I wonder what’s going on?  Why would it be different?”

So, I type Mother’s Day England into Google.  Sure enough, Mother’s Day in England is Sunday, March 2nd!  Unbelievable.  He’s right.  Mother’s Day is on Sunday.

“No way!  Mother’s Day really is Sunday in England,” I said.  “So, the ads you’re seeing are right, and what your friends were saying is true.”

“I can’t believe it’s different!  Why do they do that!?” he said, totally relieved.

“You know, I should get extra points for this…” I said with a wicked smile.  “I could have totally played this up.  I could have summoned the tears.  I could have really lathered on the guilt…but I didn’t.”

“That would have been so evil…” he said with a gasp, knowing I was fully capable of such things but choosing to use my powers for good.  “I nearly had a stroke worrying about this!”

“Maybe that’s what you get for not remembering important dates on your own…” I said, teasing him.  “Such oversights as this wouldn’t happen…”  I said, unable to hold back my laughter.

“Riiiight,” he sighed.  “I don’t think you understand how much trouble I thought I was in!”

“Ha ha ha!  Serves you right!  But, this is actually good news, and you can use this little piece of trivia to your advantage.  You can tell your friends that if they miss the one in March, they can celebrate it again in May with the Yankees.”  😉

Attack of the spambots

In my head, I had all kinds of “goals” when I started this little blog. I started out small and thought, I just hope I can get all my content transferred over to the blog from my offline document. I accomplished that goal. Then, I wondered if anyone would read my blog.

I still remember the first real comment I got from a total stranger. Wow…people are reading. That’s cool.

Then, Tech Support (i.e. my hubby) added a tracking program to my blog, and I was astounded at how many hits I was getting a day. The next little milestone was when those hits reached the triple digits. That’s pretty cool!

I’ve hit other milestones. I completed NaBloPoMo in November 2007. Speaking of which, it’s actually going monthly! Starting in March! I don’t think I’ll throw my hat in the ring officially this time, but I have blogged every day since August 9th, 2007. That’s 203 days…in a row! That’s pretty impressive, if I do say so myself.

I am also at 392 posts…close to 400! Another milestone is just around the corner.

Well, the most recent little milestone has got to be the attack of the spambots. When I started this blog, I set the comment fields wide open. All you have to do to comment is include a name and an email address (that others don’t see). The only restriction I put on the comments was if there were links, they went to a moderation queue. I sorted through those and would approve the legitimate ones and nuke the spam.

Over the last week, I’ve been located by the spambots. I mean, it’s great that my blog is out there and deemed worthy enough to attack, but it’s rather annoying, to say the least. I was getting upwards of 30 spam comments AN HOUR. So, I played around with some settings and have blacklisted some specific IP addresses and have set my moderation queue to catch a certain email address domain. The preferred choice of spammers? It’s apparently hotmail. For those of you using a hotmail address for legitimate emails, I’m sorry…your comments go into my moderation queue. Oddly enough, ALL of the spam comments have a hotmail address. Hmmmm…

At first, they were funny. The username was something unrecognizable, a jumble of letters. Then, they shifted to foreign words (Italian seems to be popular, for some reason). Now, they’ve progressed to swear words. Awesome. How lovely.

I’m not sure if WordPress has a feature where you can turn on the “type these random letters and numbers to prove you’re human and not a spambot” field on the comments, but to be honest, I don’t like that feature. I know a lot of the blogs I read and comment on have that turned on, and I’m sure it works well. Personally, I feel it’s more of a vision test than a “prove you’re human” test. Some of them are so distorted or the squiggly lines running through them make them hard to decipher without squinting. Squinting makes me feel like an old lady. Or, sometimes, I feel as though I’m reading my fortune in tea leaves. What does this random code mean? What does it say today? Will today be a good day? Will there be more snow? Just kidding. 😉

I could turn the comments to moderated-only mode, but I don’t want to do that yet. I guess we’ll see how long it takes the spambots to break through the defenses I’ve set up.

If you’ve commented, but it’s not showing up, and you’re not a spambot, please email me, and I’ll figure out what’s going on. My email address is thecasualperfectionist @ gmail.com

So, what happens if your real name is an Italian word for bicycle and you use an email address other than hotmail? You may be in luck. Your comment may get through. My condolences…your childhood must have been rough growing up with a name like that.

What if your real name is very similar to a swear word, and you don’t use hotmail? Your comment will get through, but odds are your blog website is a place to get free prescription drugs, so I’m sorry…your comment will eventually be deleted.

So, if you’re a real person and have something worthwhile to say, please comment! I love comments!

If you’re a spambot, you aren’t really reading this anyway…but Boo! Go away! I’m losing my patience with you! And, I live with a toddler, so patience is already a precious commodity around here. 😉

It’s one I can’t afford to waste on the spambots. 🙂

Shake Your Booty Again

Today’s post is a re-run. Wait! Not all re-runs are bad! I really liked this post, and I’m running low on time today so I’ve decided to re-post it. (Plus, thanks to BlogRush and some other Internet referrals, I’ve been getting a lot of new readers. Good posts get lost in the shuffle, so I thought I’d bump this one to the top.) This post was originally published on Thursday, August 30, 2007 in the Parenting 101, Language, Milestones and Claire Categories.

Claire had just turned 21-months old!

Enjoy!

Shake, shake, shake. Shake your booty.

For some reason, I’ve always liked this song. When I’m getting things ready in the kitchen, I’ll sing it and shake my booty right along to the music. Claire loves it, and she’ll dance and sing, too. All I have to do is say, “Shake, shake, shake…Shake, shake, shake…” and she’ll sing, “Shake your boooooooo-tay.” 🙂

So, what does this have to do with anything? Well, Claire has really started picking up on the nuances of language and noticing that some words have the same sound but mean different things. Take the word “shake” for example. In the song, it means to move. But, it can also refer to a yummy drink that I sometimes have for breakfast or lunch.

Because of my altered work schedule and trying to get as much done as is humanly possible during the day, I’ve been drinking a shake for one of those meals. I’m not doing it for weight-loss purposes; the convenience factor is high with these, and they are healthier than grabbing something less nutritional to shove in my mouth while Claire is sleeping or eating or running around like a crazy person.

A few years before I had Claire, I joined Weight Watchers, lost 40 lbs, and became a Lifetime Member. I have the perfect personality for counting points, and I loved the fact that I could eat whatever I wanted as long as I recorded it in my journal and stayed within my point values for the day. I’d successfully kept the weight off, and after I had Claire, I knew that I could get back into the swing of things. Luckily, I was able to, and although I don’t record the points faithfully anymore, the good eating habits I learned in WW have stuck, so the baby weight is pretty much under control. Old habits die hard, and I still remember the point values of most things anyway.

So, when I was in WW, I found that if I saved my points during the day, I could eat more at night with my hubby. The shakes are only 3 points a piece, and when coupled with a low-point lunch (or breakfast, depending on which meal it has replaced), they leave my dinner options wide open.

Another thing I drink is Diet Coke. At one time, it was my favorite drink and really helped with the weight loss. Diet Cokes are zero points, and can serve as a little pick-me-up during the day.

Years after I’d reached and stayed at my goal, my hubby and I decided to “stop preventing” and see what happened. At that time, I swore off all caffeinated beverages. My doctor was rather conservative and suggested I not partake of the caffeine while pregnant, and I decided to follow her advice. Also, some people believe that caffeine withdrawal is a myth, but I didn’t want to deal with the potential agony of that process and the pitfalls of being pregnant. Luckily, I didn’t seem to have any withdrawal symptoms from my caffeine habit, and I got pregnant a few months later.

I was horribly sick with “morning sickness” for months (I put that in quotes, because it was more like morning-noon-night sickness for me!), and as much as a Diet Coke had soothed me in the past, I refrained. I didn’t even return to its loving arms after I had Claire and was dealing with the exhaustion of being a new parent, because I was breastfeeding, and I really didn’t want to see the effects of a caffeinated baby firsthand. Plus, I’d not had it for so long now, what was another year?

Claire has always been a good sleeper, and part of me wonders if there’s a connection. Either way, after I had breastfed Claire for a year and she was weaned, I went back to the loving arms of my illicit lover, Diet Coke. It was though nothing had changed, and we’ve rekindled our affair.

So, the other morning, we’re all in the kitchen, and I’m making breakfast for Claire.

“Coke! Momma’s Coke!” Claire said excitedly as she saw the can at my place at the table.

“No, Claire, that’s not Momma’s Coke. I know it’s surprising that it isn’t her Diet Coke, because I know that’s what she normally has for breakfast,” Daddy said as he grinned at me. “It’s really a chocolate shake in a can. You’ll need to learn the word chocolate, because it’s what makes Momma’s life easier.”

“Actually, chocolate for Momma makes everyone’s lives easier,” I said with a wink and a smile. “And, Daddy’s right! That’s not a Diet Coke; that’s a shake!”

“Shake your boo-tay!” Claire yelled as she bounced up and down in her highchair.

2:41 a.m.

So, we had an exciting weekend. We got to take Daddy to the airport twice on Sunday. Yes, twice. He forgot an integral piece of the puzzle required for his work trip, and thankfully remembered it right before we got to the airport as opposed to after we’d dropped him off and he’d gotten through Security.

So, we get off the main highway headed toward the airport and get back on the highway and head back home. “Yea! Daddy’s not going to London!” Claire shouts from the backseat. “Nope, sorry. Daddy’s still going to London. Hopefully he catches his plane in time,” I said.

Luckily, he did. That was a relief.

That evening, we’d already been invited to a Playdate/Dinner Party at a friends’ house. We opted to go sans Daddy. This was actually the perfect prescription for Claire. She missed Daddy, but she was thrilled to play with her friends.

This time, three families gathered for the evening festivities. There was a 5-½ year old boy, a 3 year old girl, a 2-½ year old boy and two 2 yr old girls (including Claire). There was also an 8-month old boy.

The old me would have been like, “Is that Dante over there? Wait…which Circle is this?” The new me was glad that Claire had other kids to play with. They weren’t all siblings to each other, so there was no fighting. It was awesome.

It was the perfect mix of ages, and the kids had a blast playing and eating and playing some more together. (The 8-month old spent a lot of time in the sling or being passed from adult to adult. He was in that perfect age where he was so smiley and easy-go-lucky.)

It was a nice, relaxing evening of food, fun and great conversation. It was just what we needed.

After the party, Claire and I came home and we got ready for bed. She went down with no troubles, even though she really missed Daddy.

Midnight rolled around, and I checked the online flight status page: Flight landed. I sighed a huge sigh of relief. I realize that me watching the status page has no bearing on whether or not the plane lands on time, but I like knowing. It’s harder for me to sleep if I don’t know.

It’s early Monday morning, and I’m finally in bed. Morning will be here soon. Must get to sleep…..

2:41 a.m. my cell phone rings. I jolt awake and scramble for the phone. I flip it open and see my hubby’s name. I press Talk.

“Hello?”

He’s all apologetic for waking me up. He asks if it’s like, what 4 or 5am there? “Nope,” I say. “It’s 2:41.  In the morning.” Then, he’s even more apologetic.

“No worries,” I reassure him. And, I mean it. I’d told him to never hesitate to call me if he needs something. He knows to call the cell phone rather than do the math in his head. If I’m asleep, my cell phone will wake me up, but Claire will not be disturbed by the house phone. If I’m out and about, he doesn’t have to waste time trying the home phone if he calls my cell. It works.

“What’s up? You made it!” I feel so relieved to hear his voice.

He explains that the flight was pleasantly uneventful and that he’d found the proper trains. He had a question for me, though…

“Have you done the shredding yet?”

I laughed to myself, picturing me in my robe shredding things while Claire slept in the next room.

“Uh, no…” I said. I usually do that on Mondays so that the pile doesn’t get out of control. Sometimes I do that on Saturday to get a jump on the week ahead, but he was in luck. I hadn’t had time this weekend.

“Good,” he said. “I need you to find something for me. For some reason my PIN is not working on my Corporate Card, so I’m afraid I have it wrong. Could you check the paper that the PIN came on? It’s in the To Be Shredded pile in your office.”

“Sure,” I said, as I stumbled around in the dark, the back-light from my phone on my cheek nearly blinding me in the dark.

In my office, I’m looking through one eye squinting at the pile of papers. He’s talking in my ear about the flight and trains and general stuff.

“You really sound awake,” I said, realizing that I didn’t.

“I feel a lot better this time than last time,” he said.

“That’s good. You know? I can’t find this paper anywhere. Are you sure you put it in my office?”

“Oh…I should have told you. It’s the size of a postage stamp!” he said.

“WHAT!?” That little piece of information would have been helpful at the beginning of this task.

“I kinda already tore that page up and put just the part with the PIN in your office. It should be near the top of the pile. It’s a teeny tiny piece of paper.”

Sure enough, there it was. I wasn’t looking for something so small! I read him the number.

“Hmmm, that’s the number I tried. Maybe there was something wrong with the ATM I was using. I’ll try it again later today. I have another favor to ask…”

“Sure. Whatever you need. I’m starting to feel a little more awake,” I said, fibbing but not wanting the conversation to end.

“Okay, well, for some reason, the network isn’t working with the address book on this phone, and all the numbers I programmed into it are not available. I need to you go downstairs and look at one of the notebooks on my desk.”

I know that my hubby carries a notebook with him for work. He keeps all his meeting notes and objectives and To Do’s in it. So, I know kinda of what he’s talking about. I go downstairs, and as I’m almost to his office, he says, “I’m going to apologize in advance…”

“Uh oh. What does that mean?” I ask. I mean, what could be worse than trying to find a piece of paper the size of a postage stamp in my shredding pile?

“Let’s just say that my coworkers tease me that my notebooks are encrypted…” he said.

“Oh no. Is this like the grocery list??” I ask, knowing that I often need to have help deciphering his scratches if I’m the one that goes to the store.

“Worse,” he said, laughing.

“Ooohhh noooooo… Fine. Tell me what I’m looking for.”

“A person’s name and their cell phone number…”

He proceeded to tell me where he thought it would be written and what it may look like. I found something that may fit the criteria and tried to read it to him. He wasn’t sure if that was right, because it sounded like an office number. So I flipped through even more pages in the book.

“You’re either insane…or a direct descendent of Leonardo Da Vinci…” I muttered under my breath, but actually amused at his scribbles.

“I said I was sorry before you even started looking…” He said. I could tell he was smiling.

“It’s okay. I’m just giving you a hard time. I think I found something that looks like that person’s name and another foreign phone number.”

And, with that, he went off on the next part of his adventure and I went back to bed. Morning was even closer now, and it was even harder to fall asleep, but I was glad to help and relieved to hear his voice.

As it turns out, the PIN worked just fine in a different machine, and I’d successfully deciphered the phone numbers….with squinty eyes…through a groggy haze…at 2:41 a.m.

And, when he called us 12-hours later, he was the one that sounded groggy. He’d successfully stayed up until a decent hour local time and was ready for bed.

Claire got on the phone and said, “I love you so much, Daddy. I’m sad. I miss you.”

Through the phone, I could hear his heart squeaking as it twisted in his chest. “I love you so much too, Claire. I’ll be home before you know it.”

Seven Random Things

Schmutzie from Schmutzie’s Milkmoney Or Not, Here I Come has tagged me for a meme! For those of you who don’t know, a meme is like an online chain letter.

The rules:
• Share seven random and/or weird things about yourself.
• Tag five people to do the meme and link to their weblogs.

Seven Random and/or Weird Things about The Casual Perfectionist:

1. I have red hair, and I’ve always had red hair. My eyelashes and eyebrows are a very light strawberry blonde and practically invisible to the naked eye. My eyelashes are very long and look nice with mascara. I brush a hazelnut colored eye-shadow into my eyebrows so that they can be seen. The first aesthetician to do my eyebrows taught me that trick.

2. I cannot stand wood ticks. I loathe them. The thought of them makes me feel nauseous. I don’t like thinking about them, and I don’t like talking about them. Why I’m devoting a whole number to them on my list is random and weird. (So, I think that fits the criteria of this meme, huh!?) 😉 I have not seen a wood tick since I moved away from my childhood home on the farm. It’s been over 15 years since I’ve seen one. Not that I’m counting. 😉

3. My ears are very small, but I can wiggle them, making my glasses move up and down my nose.

4. I am fluent in a foreign language, but I can introduce myself and count to ten in seven languages.

5. When I was little, I memorized the alphabet in American Sign Language. I can still spell words pretty quickly using it.

6. Growing up, I was in the Knight Rider Fan Club. I even had an official blue-print of KITT. They’ve re-made Knight Rider and it was on NBC the other night. I TiVO’d it and couldn’t wait to see it. My husband insisted on watching it with me, but he would not stop making fun of it. I paused it and told him to stop making fun of it, or I’d shut it off and watch it when he wasn’t around. That’s when he told me he wasn’t making fun of it; he was making fun of me. Ha! Well, he can make fun all he wants…he wasn’t an official member of the fan club, so that makes me better than him. So there. Pppppppppt.

7. I have 92 subscriptions in my GoogleReader, yet I’m always looking for new blogs to read. Luckily, most of those blogs do not update daily (like mine). If they did, I’m not sure I would get much else done. 😉 Either way, it’s a good thing I’m an expert at multitasking.

Because I can’t keep track of who has done a meme recently and who hasn’t (see #7), I’ve decided to tag the last five people who have commented on the site:

Lori at weebleswobblog.blogspot.com
Ashley at thelightersideofgrowingup.typepad.com
Psychgrad at bloggingwagon.blogspot.com
Noble Pig at noblepig.com
Alynda at alyndabear.com

Gotcha! You’re it! 😉

Projection

Setting the scene: Momma and Claire are headed home after taking Daddy to the airport. Again. This time, he’ll be gone for two weeks. Momma is trying to relax on the ride home and not think about that. Claire is strapped securely in her car seat. She has Kitty and Puppy, her two stuffed animals, with her along for the ride.

Claire: “It’s okay, Kitty! OH KITTY, DON’T CRY! It will be okay Kitty. Please don’t cry.”

Momma: “What’s the matter with Kitty?”

Claire: “Kitty is screaming!”

Momma: “Uh oh. That doesn’t sound good. What’s wrong?”

Claire: “Kitty is crying!”

Momma: “What’s the matter with Kitty?”

Claire: “Kitty is yelling! She’s very upset.”

Momma: “It sounds like it. It’s okay, Kitty! Don’t cry! Claire, what’s wrong with Kitty?”

Claire: “She’s upset because Daddy’s goin’ to London. She doesn’t want him to go to London. She wants to see him RIGHT NOW.”

Momma: “Oh, it will be okay. Tell Kitty that Daddy will be back before she knows it…”

*sigh*

txt 4 u

444
44.666.7.33
88
44.2.888.33
2
4.777.33.2.8
9.55.33.66.3

😉

We pretended it was May

So, yesterday, by my calculations, it was still February. In true form for our area, it was sunny, but chilly. We get over 300 days of sun a year, which is nice for those people who actually like the sun. But, still, there is snow in the shadows in the backyard and it was a little chilly. Not arctic, but not as warm as it looked outside my window.

In looking at the pictures my hubby took in London, I realized how much I miss the green grass. Spring is just around the corner, but March is typically the snowiest month here…so I’m a little apprehensive about what lies ahead. We’ve already gotten an incredible amount of snow. This will be good for the drought, but bad on the psyches.

Yesterday, Claire and I met a couple of friends at the indoor pool for a swim. Outside, it was February, but inside it was May. A glorious, balmy, May. It was AWESOME. We met my doula friend and her daughter, and the girls had a blast playing in the water. My friend and I had a great time catching up. Claire still loves the pool, and a great time was had by all. She kept trying to swim by herself! I may try to do some research and see if there are some lessons we can do…she’s obviously ready for the challenge.

Of course, we all played so hard that by the time a couple of hours rolled around, we were all tired. Claire kept saying, “I don’t wanna go nighty-night” out of the blue, which is a sure sign that she’s getting tired.

So, we said our good-byes, and much to Claire’s dismay we headed to the Women’s Locker Room. She helped me get dressed, and I helped her get dressed, and then we carried our things to the car. She was practically asleep in the car seat before we made the short drive home.

So, today, I’m hilariously behind in my work, but I really don’t care. Pretending it was May was awesome and just what we both needed. We definitely need to do this again sometime.